Thousands of marketers lost their jobs this year due to the coronavirus pandemic. However, quarantine is coming to an end, the business comes to life, and marketers begin to wonder where to go to work now. We decided to speculate that it is better to choose a marketer for work: a startup, marketing agency or corporation.


Different career paths

In essence, marketers today have three main job options.

The first is work in a large or relatively large company, for example, in a regional representative office of an international brand, a large retailer, a banking structure, or a university with a name. Depending on the size of the organization, the marketing department may consist of one manager or dozens of specialists - from the director to the junior assistants.

The second way is a startup, that is, a young but daring innovative company. You should not expect a large marketing department (and serious budgets) from such a company. But there is good news: startups today grow like mushrooms after rain, you can choose where and what you would like to do.

Finally, the third option is an advertising or marketing agency. In Russia there are more than 15,000, in Belarus - over 300. The popularity of agencies is declared by the fact that today more and more companies prefer to outsource marketing.

Each option has its pros and cons. Let's look at them in order.


1) Work in the corporation

  • Big budget . One of the main advantages of working in a stable company is its great financial opportunities. You will be able to develop and conduct serious marketing and advertising campaigns, gain access to new communication channels, be able to attract third-party agencies to solve problems (instead of frantically google “how to promote your business for free”).
  • Stable income and social package . The crisis, unfortunately, is already a permanent state of our reality, so the prospect of receiving a monthly guaranteed amount of money is becoming more and more attractive for many. High-quality medical insurance and compensation for food expenses will also come in handy. In corporations, there are other “goodies” for employees, for example, gym memberships.
  • A good line in the resume . Imagine that you yourself select the employees for your department. Which of the applicants seems more interesting to you: from Google Corporation or from Horns and Hooves LLC? We are also inclined to the first option. A large company with a well-known name will add points to any resume.
  • Learning from the experience of colleagues . This is possible when the company has a large marketing department, and is relevant for specialists at all levels. Even if you are a marketer with a name and great professional experience, the constantly changing technologies and market conditions make you keep your nose to the wind and quickly learn new knowledge.
  • Career growth . Assistant, junior manager, senior manager, department head, department head, deputy director - these are the steps of the traditional career ladder in a large corporation. Not a bad prospect, is it? In an international company, there is a chance to become, for example, a regional director and leave to work abroad. A horizontal career is also possible: a transition to brand management, media management, market research, and so on. Don’t stay idle.


  • Bureaucracy . The larger the company, the stronger you will feel like a cog in a huge car, and the less freedom you will have. Campaigns can be budgeted for weeks, and each press release will have to be shown to five or six different bosses (minimum).Relative freedom in corporations is enjoyed only by the heads of the marketing department, but this place still needs to be managed to take.
  • Political games . In a large team it’s hard for everyone to like it. It is likely that someone will not love you and will put you in the wheel with a stick simply because of personal hostility. Relations play a big role in the work, because it is no secret that decisions in corporations are not always made on the basis of efficiency considerations.
  • Lack of creativity . Stably working companies tend to use the same marketing tools for years on the principle of “not broken - don't fix it”. Therefore, it will not be easy for you to convince your superiors to try innovative channels like WebAR or 3D photos. International corporations usually follow very tightly the brand book and guidelines of their brands, seriously limiting the possibilities for creativity.


2) Work in a startup

  • Independence . “The state is me,” Louis XIV once exclaimed. In your case, the option “marketing is me” is possible, because you will be the only employee in the department. The main plus of this situation is the freedom to make decisions. The smaller (and younger) a startup, the faster all approvals go through it. In addition, startup founders are usually willing to experiment with new marketing channels.
  • Quick Results . It’s easy to evaluate the effectiveness of marketing when no one knows about the brand initially. In addition, the smaller the scale of the business, the better results can be achieved in a short time: say, one advertising company can increase sales not by 20%, but by 200%. Great line in the resume!
  • Career growth . If the project "shoots" and the brand becomes recognizable, you can immediately jump several steps of the career ladder. Only in startups is it possible to go from a specialist to a director in a couple of years of work. In addition, most startups work in the promising industry of IT technologies.
  • Dynamic . New tasks every day, interesting projects, a small friendly team, in a word, “movement” and a sense of adventure - this is what creates a unique atmosphere for startups. I know a lot of specialists who, having worked once in a startup, no longer wanted to return to large companies.


  • Risk of error . Independence has a flip side: if you make decisions, then the full responsibility for them lies with you. If you are solely responsible for all marketing, there is a possibility that at the right time no one can give you good advice and protect you from failure.
  • No one to learn from . It’s not difficult to find a guru in a corporation, but in a startup you will have to master everything yourself. This in no way cancels professional growth, just its speed and success, again, will directly depend on you.
  • A modest budget . Lack of money is a classic situation for 99% of startups. You will have to find communication channels and use tools that require minimal costs (and best of all, of course, completely free). We’ll be optimistic: even in such a situation there is a plus - you will pump a creative approach to solving problems, however, the implementation of many good ideas will most likely have to be postponed until better times.
  • Low salary . Problems associated with financing concern not only projects, but also the remuneration of the team. A startup, at least at the beginning of its business, will not be able to pay you as much as a corporation. Startups often compensate for the low salaries of shares in the company, but this can not be called stable earnings.
  • Chaos and unpredictability . The atmosphere of adventure is a big plus for those who feel comfortable in such an environment. Those experts who value order and stability are likely to find a place in a startup with difficulty, where not only the strategy, but even the product itself can suddenly change. You should not expect verified business processes from a startup.

Office of BDCenter Digital - BC Royal Plaza, Minsk

3) Work in the agency


  • Variety of projects . Agencies are good at providing a wide variety of assignments. The same specialist can simultaneously conduct several projects in completely different segments: from blockchain to travel services. This is interesting and useful for the development of horizons, and most importantly - allows you to grow into a specialist with a wide range of competencies.
  • Rapid professional growth . In an agency, in a month you will learn what the corporation cannot comprehend in a year. Of course, the work will require full commitment from you, but if your goal is to become a professional as soon as possible, then an agency is the fastest way to achieve it.
  • Democratic atmosphere . Agencies usually have a horizontal organizational structure; there is no classical hierarchy and strict formal relations between superiors and subordinates. It is unlikely that someone will force you to walk in a suit and turn to the manual by name and patronymic.
  • Friendly team of specialists . As practice shows, the average level of professionalism in agencies is much higher than in the full-time marketing departments, as employees gain solid experience in various fields. In addition, agencies are usually very close-knit teams. Sometimes for the sake of projects you have to spend the night in the office, of course, a stressful situation teaches people to quickly find a common language and support each other. The classic corporate showdown “marketing vs sales” or “marketing vs accounting” in the agency can’t be in principle.


  • Frantic pace . We do not want you to have unnecessary illusions. Work in the agency is a really high pace of work. You will be required to constantly be in touch, regularly switch between projects and tasks. On the one hand, you are likely to be proud of the results of your work, on the other hand, such an intense pace is far from suitable for everyone. Various mobile applications can help out, helping to organize the workflow (Slack, Asana, Trello and others), but in the first place is your motivation.
  • Difficult Clients . Clients are, first of all, people. Some behave calmly and professionally, others are nervous, rushing or procrastinating, making decisions, making thousands of corrections to the layouts and require millions of reports (the deadline for which is yesterday). You will need a lot of patience and the ability to adapt to the client, enter his position.
  • Short career ladder . Becoming a professional in the agency, pumping your skills, you can quickly enough. But to become a "big boss" with dozens of subordinates is unlikely. The fact is that agencies are usually very compact teams. You can become a team leader or leader, but looking for even higher career horizons you will most likely have to look for a new job.

So where is it anyway better?

There is no single answer. To make it more convenient to weigh the pros and cons, we have gathered all the pros and cons of each option into a single table.
Pros and Cons of Each Option for a Marketer


For a marketer who has always worked only in corporations, the prospect of being in a startup can be frightening. If you need to pay a mortgage and support a family, it would be wise to wait out the storm in a calm corporate harbor.

However, do not forget that in the next couple of years the competition among marketers will become much tougher: according to all forecasts, we will face a recession in the global economy, which means that only the strongest will survive - both companies and specialists.

So, if you want different projects and quickly pump skills - welcome to the agency, quickly climb the career ladder - to a startup, work stably - to a corporation.

Ultimately, the choice comes down to the key question: what is more important for you - stability or rapid growth and prospects? If you are interested in working in a marketing agency with interesting projects in the global market, then we are always happy to welcome new professionals in our team.

BDCenter Digital Team.